Enteral nutrition: background, indications and management

Baillieres Clin Gastroenterol. 1988 Oct;2(4):815-47. doi: 10.1016/0950-3528(88)90037-1.


Enteral nutrition is only part of the wider field of clinical nutrition in which great advances in both theory and practice have been made over the last decade. We have attempted to summarize what we consider to be the advances that have most relevance to the clinical practice of enteral nutrition. This chapter reviews our present understanding of the processes of digestion and absorption of protein, carbohydrate and fats, and examines how this theoretical understanding can be applied to patients in the clinical situation. A broad classification of the different enteral diets is undertaken, and the reasons for the development of particular diets are discussed. The clinical value of these diets is assessed. The wide variety of indications for enteral (as opposed to parenteral) nutrition are discussed and the specific benefits of enteral nutrition for the patient are highlighted. Techniques of administration of enteral nutrition are reviewed in detail, and the methods by which enteral nutrition should be monitored are outlined. Finally, complications of enteral nutrition are summarized and advice given on how to prevent or treat them.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Food, Formulated
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins